Colleen Ferguson, David Ma and Max Perren marked 25 years at the College with an induction into the Quarter Century Club, established by the school in 1942.
Ferguson, the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme coordinator at the Upper School, said it was fitting that she was hired the first year that a UCC graduating class received their IB diplomas.
“IB was new to me, so I learned about it and now, it’s my jam,” says Ferguson.
Ferguson has also worked as a creativity coordinator, a senior house adviser (Jackson’s) and chair of the English department. She has also worked for different leaders, “each with their own area of passion.
“I think that people go into teaching because they have an appetite for change,” she says. “There are new groups of people and new contexts each year. Refreshing and reinventing yourself is a way to remain excited over time.”
She’s also seen the school change — like the growth to just about 50 per cent female faculty at the Upper School, for example — but one thing has remained constant: the wonderful students.
“The kids make it fun to be in the classroom. They are interested and challenging in the best ways: quirky, passionate, incredibly intelligent and fun to be around.”
For David Ma, a mathematics teacher at the Prep, “To be honest, I feel as if I’ve only been here 10 or 15 years; the time has gone by very quickly.”
Ma says, “Deep down, I have the heart of a kid, so I understand how the boys think and how they enjoy the hands-on approach of collaborating and doing science. I love that aspect of the classroom.”
He also loves the collegiality at UCC.
“People genuinely enjoy each other's company at the Prep and there are many strong friendships that have evolved here. It truly is a blessing to see,” he says.
Another sign that time has passed is seeing former students.
“It's so nice to run into my former students in the community who are now men with families,” says Ma. “It's hard for me to recognize them as they've changed so much but apparently, I’m still easily recognizable. It’s heartwarming for them to come up to me and say, ‘Hi.’”
Max Perren teaches English and history to Year 7 students and is a form adviser and varsity lacrosse coach. “I can’t really see myself anywhere else,” Perren says. “I’ve participated in life in both the Prep and the Upper School.
“As a teacher and a coach, no two days are the same. Whether it’s difficult victories or a good challenge, there are all sorts of things coming at you.”
One of his fondest UCC memories is the annual birding trip to Amherst Island that he conducted for a dozen years with the late Dr. John Speakman, a donor. More than 100 students experienced the outdoors in winter through that event.
There are two things Perren says he particularly cherishes about the school: the students and his colleagues.
“The students keep me coming back,” he says. “They are dynamic, interesting and funny. As for my colleagues, some of my best friends are in these buildings.”
The three new Quarter Century Club members were honoured at an event this past spring, where their dedication and contributions to the College were celebrated.